China aluminium imports cease on diminishing arbitrage profits

Chinese buyers say they are no longer looking to import aluminium, with the fading arbitrage potential ending what was an unusual and profitable trade.

The arbitrage for bringing aluminium into China reopened for the first time since 2016 on May 6, with a marginal profit of $4.22 per tonne, according to Fastmarkets’ calculations. It widened to $61.82 per tonne on May 20 before slipping to a loss from May 26. Fastmarkets calculated the arbitrage at a loss of $27.74 per tonne on June 1.
Chinese importers brought nearly 500,000 tonnes of aluminium ingot into the country since the beginning of May, according to market sources. But traders have stepped back from imports since the window closed.

“We stopped importing ingots last Wednesday when the profit started narrowing. Besides, difficulties in locking in domestic spot premiums increased the risk of bringing more metal to...

Published

Hui Li

June 02, 2020

13:16 GMT

Shanghai